All you need to know about boat insuranceJulia Jannin
In order to sail in Spain, it is compulsory to take out civil liability insurance for all motorboats, or for sailing boats longer than 6 metres (Royal Decree R/D 607/1999).
What does boat insurance cover?
The boat insurance is intended to protect pleasure boats, both motorised and sailing, and in most cases it can also include inflatable and semi-rigid boats, as well as jet-skis.
What are the main guarantees?
- Compulsory third party liability: cover for damage caused to third parties. This is the essential and compulsory cover to be able to navigate.
- Voluntary civil liability: coverage above the amount required by law. Spanish law states that the insurance must cover a minimum of 120,000 euros per victim with a maximum of approximately 240,000 euros per claim, while for material damage and economic loss, the maximum is set at approximately 96,000 euros per claim.
- Total loss: covered by the insurance company when the repair of the damage exceeds 75% of the real value of the boat.
- Theft/Fire: The insurance covers both theft and fire of the boat and the goods inside the boat.
- Property damage: Includes damage to the hull, engine, fittings or sails of the boat as a result of sinking, grounding, collision or impact with fixed or floating objects, storm, fire or explosion and theft.
- Salvage and marine assistance/towing: The purchase of this cover in the boat insurance covers the cost of towing the boat in case you need help in the event of possible sinking or destruction of the vessel. This is a highly recommended coverage, as after an accident at sea, the rescue teams can pass on the bill for the salvage to the boat owner
Removal of remains: if for any reason the vessel is damaged and remains of the vessel are left at sea, the insurance will take care of this. The maximum amount covered is normally 30,000 euros.
- Nautical assistance: just as when you take out car insurance, you can take out travel assistance insurance for your boat. This means that if an accident occurs while you are travelling with the boat, all the resulting costs will be covered. Some of these costs, depending on the insurance company, may be hotel accommodation, care of the boat, medical expenses abroad or sending medicines. This cover can be particularly important if you are travelling to foreign countries. This service includes medical advice, medical transfer of the sick and injured, transport of mortal remains and even sending spare parts for the boat in case of breakdown.
- Legal defence: legal assistance and criminal defence in the event of a claim covered by the contract.
- Occupants' accidents: the health costs of the occupants are covered by the boat insurance in case of an accident.
What is covered by compulsory third party liability insurance?
Third party liability insurance protects third parties from damage that we may cause them through the use of the insured boat. In other words, it does not cover damage to our boat. It is important to note that the compulsory insurance only covers civil liability when the boat is in the water.
How does assistance at sea work?
The insurance company provides the telephone numbers or radio frequency of the marine rescue service to be towed to the nearest port. The insured person must advance the amount of the tow and the company will reimburse afterwards.
Can you sail anywhere at sea and be covered under the same policy?
In many cases, companies insure the internal waters of the European Union, the Mediterranean Sea and the external waters up to 200 miles from the Spanish or Portuguese coasts, as well as crossings between the Canary Islands and the Iberian Peninsula.
In cases where it is necessary to extend the sailing areas, it is possible to ask our insurer to take charge of the extension. In general, the insurance company will ask for the areas where we are going to sail and the time of the crossing we are going to make.
How many places should I insure if the boat has a maximum capacity of 8 people but we are normally 2 people on board?
The maximum number of seats allowed on the boat must always be stated to cover passenger accidents.
Is theft of items from the boat usually covered?
Normally, damage insurance policies cover theft of items. For this, it is necessary to submit a list of the accessories you have on board your boat to your insurance company.
What is the maximum age that the boat must be in order to be covered by comprehensive insurance?
The maximum date of construction of the boat is between 15 and 20 years. If the boat is more than 20 years old, a survey must be carried out and will be charged to the boat owner.
What is the difference between “British clauses” and “Spanish clauses” boat insurance?
When taking out insurance for your boat, you should be aware that foreign regulations may apply. This is why some insurers allow you to take out an 'Institute Yacht Clauses' policy for your boat. In the former case, the risks covered by the insurer are clearly stated in the policy conditions. The English clauses include everything that is not explicitly excluded. In other words, Spanish conditions work by inclusion, while English conditions work by exclusion.
English contracts allow the value of the vessel to be agreed, whereas Spanish contracts insure on the basis of the market value (the price of the vessel just before the loss). The English clauses normally apply to 'high value' boats.
Many of the guarantees in the English clauses are not intended for pleasure boats, which would normally be better covered by the Spanish clauses. The English clauses contain a number of limitations which are not contained in the Spanish clauses.
What value should we tell our insurance company?
In most cases, companies state that the sum insured should be the actual value of the boat at the time the policy is taken out.
- If the boat is new, we have to state the value we paid for it. If we have also added a certain amount of extra equipment, we must add these amounts as they will be included in the insurance of our boat.
- If, on the other hand, the boat we are insuring is used or second-hand, it is important to check that the value we declare corresponds to the real value, i.e. the value that the boat would have on the second-hand market and with the equipment it has. In any case, the average market value of the boat should be indicated, as this will be the amount for which our insurer will compensate in case of total loss.
If you do not have a boat registration number, is it possible to take out insurance?
Some boats of less than 5 metres or with a foreign flag do not have a registration number, in these cases you will have to ask for the chassis number in order to insure it.
The boat has a foreign flag, is it possible to insure it?
Yes, you will have to provide the registration number if it has one, or the hull/frame number to identify it in the insurance policy.
Is it possible to sail without compulsory insurance?
All motorboats are required to have third party insurance. Sailing without compulsory insurance can be punished. Ports usually require it to allow a boat to stay or enter the port facilities.
In the event of a total loss insurance, how much compensation will be paid?
The amount of compensation will be the market value of the vessel, i.e. the value of the vessel before the loss.
What are the types of boat registration in Spain?
The regulations governing the registration of boats in Spain establish certain lists in which boats are grouped according to the activity for which they are intended. Pleasure boats are registered in the 6th or 7th list. In the 6th list, boats are registered for profit-making activities (rental use) and in the 7th list those for private use.
How quickly can I take out a boat insurance policy?
In most cases, the insured can obtain an insurance certificate on the same day that the policy is taken out. Taking out a policy is quick and easy.
To insure the boat, the following information/documents are required:
- NIE or passport number
- Boat licence
- Boat documents
- Address of the boat in Spain
- Policyholder's address
- Policyholder's bank account
What documents should I keep on my boat?
- Proof of insurance payment: original or bank receipt "recibo bancario" corresponding to the last annual payment.
- Boat licence
- Boat documents: the boat's title deed and the boat's traffic card (document authorising a boat to sail,
Document certifying that the boat is valid to sail
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